[AI] Experiences with Wayfinder GPS

Pranav Lal pranav.lal at gmail.com
Fri Aug 10 20:08:44 EDT 2007

Hi Manish,

I have investigated GPS quite thoroughly in India.  At the moment, Airtel
has launched the service for customers using its Blackberry 800.  Garmin
also has such functionality however, the software that they use is not
accessible.  Garmin provides its own maps and connectivity service.

By the way, are you using wayfinder or, wayfinder access?  Wayfinder access
is the same thing as Wayfinder but, with an accessible front end.

-----Original Message-----
From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
[mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Manish Agrawal
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 11:02 PM
To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
Subject: [AI] Experiences with Wayfinder GPS

Hi all,
I've been using the wayfinder GPS over the last few weeks and thought
will share some experiences with the group:
My wife and I are in Boston these days. The city is also called the
"walking city"...and as the name suggests, we also end up doing a lot of
"walking" everyday for things like getting grocery for the home to just
exploring this beautiful and historic city.
Both of us cannot read any street signs, bill boards, maps, names etc.
So, one can imagine it will be rather tricky to find your way around. 
Thanks to 2 important things, traveling around really is fun. First is
the excellent subway train system in the city of Boston and surrounding
areas (still you need to walk a lot).
Second is the Wayfinder GPS software that I purchased within the first
week of getting here. Most of the rest of this post is devoted to this.
- Nokia 6600 with talx (The same one I used in India)
- A bluetooth GPS receiver (Globalsat BT 359) $100

Software and services:
- Wayfinder navigator package (software and lifetime access to map
server) - $100

- An unlimited data plan from my cellular provider AT&T - $40 per month.

Experience so far:
It's been a really useful tool so far for us.
We have gone around and looked up new places, looked for restaurants
near where we were, and generally been sure that we were not lost.
Wayfinder is almost completely accessible, except for the displayed map,
which is meant for sited users only. Loadstone-gps does a better job
with the map.
However, there are also some glitches such as when we start, we don't
know which direction to start towards because it is indicated on the map
but talx doesn't read it. We quickly realize when we walk in the wrong
direction though because wayfinder goes mad at you.
Also, there is an error radius of 5 to 10 meters which is substantial
when you are walking. So, sometimes wayfinder says that you've reached
the destination when you think you are really in the middle of nowhere
because your destination is somewhere in the 10 meter radius (in any
Similarly, sometimes the gps receiver looses and regains signal from the
satellite and wayfinder starts thinking that you're off track and starts
giving incorrect directions. This is intermittent and if you don't panic
for a few minutes, it comes back to normal.
Also, after a few weeks of using it, now that we are much more familiar
with the places we go to, I am not using it as frequently any more
(which sometimes makes me think twice about the $40 a month I need to
pay for internet connectivity on the phone just to keep this up and
running). But every time it gets me to a place where I would otherwise
have needed a lot of asking around and/or sighted assistance, my doubts
subside for the time being.
Another thing is about juggling with a phone and a gps receiver and
potentially other things in your hands when you are walking. I would
have preferred a phone with a built-in receiver (like a nokia n95) but
the cost was prohibitive. A bluetooth headset can also relieve the
problem a bit by not having you carry the phone in your hand to listen
to wayfinder instructions.
Wayfinder has done some kind of contract with airtel in India and they
are launching this in about 115 cities in India. The internet
connectivity charges are also substantially lower in India (about rs.
500 a month for unlimited connection on my airtel.)
So, I hope to come back and continue to use this...especially when I
need to deal with unscrupulous (or simply dumb) cab and auto drivers.


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